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This section is about research linked to the impact of wind farms. It will grow as it is a work in progress. I welcome any ideas for inclusion here, including web sites, articles, books, exhibitions, research findings etc. In order to get started, I'm posting material that I find interesting, particularly in relation to my concerns about impact on human health, including noise, mental health and toxicity from pollution. My aim is to share material that is based on sound research, in other words, I don't want to post speculative material here.  My Blog is where I'm sharing more subjective items. Articles are available on the Internet, and you can access them by clicking the red title.  These are largely highly specialised Reports, but if you read the Abstract at the beginning, and the conclusions and/or summaries, you can gain good understanding of the primary results of the research findings.

Combatting Erosion of Wind Turbine Blades

Minimum Leading Edge Protection Application Length to Combat Rain-Induced Erosion of Wind Turbine Blades 


This article by researchers Amrit Shankar Verma, Sandro Di Not, Zhengru Ren, Zhiyu Jiang and Julie J.E. Teuwen is part of the special issue Advancements in Leading Edge Erosion Science of Wind Turbine Blades) of the journal Energies, published in 2021.  The issue of protection against erosion of wind turbine blades is critical for Shetland in relation to the threat of microplastics being released into the environment through erosion.  

A problem lies in one of the main challenges related to the choice of a minimum leading edge protection.  Apparently coating suppliers generally apply a “rule of thumb” to determine the amount of protection, and no studies exist that stipulate how the amount can be calculated.  In this study, the researchers extended the scope of a recently developed framework to determine the minimum amount required for wind turbine blades in order to combat rain-induced erosion.


The results of the study show that the amount is sensitive to the choice of the site, as well as the turbine attributes. Additionally, the amount of protection required on the wind turbine blades is greatest for turbines installed at coastal sites, and with higher power ratings.  The researchers plan  further detailed investigation to check the sensitivity of the amount required in relation to the wind turbine parameters. The results of the study are expected to provide guidelines to the industry for efficient repair strategies for wind turbine blades.

Image shows (a) Wind turbine exposed to rain field. (b) Examples of the leading edge erosion (LEE) of wind turbine blades (WTBs) (source: Vattenfall group [15], TNO [16], and DURALEDGE project [17].

Building Wind Farms ‘can harm the planet as much as oil’

Quantifying the land-based opportunity carbon costs of onshore wind farms

This article by researchers Fabrizio Albanitoa, Sam Roberts, Anita Shepherd and Astley Hastings was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production in June 2022.  They calculated the impact that onshore wind farms have on land with the carbon costs factored in.  The construction of 3,848 wind turbines in Scotland released 4.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere as a result of digging up ancient peat bogs and felling trees to build wind farms. The worst case scenario was found in peat lands, which they found comparable to the life cycle emissions of fossil-fuel technologies such as coal and gas-fired electricity generation.  

Image below shows the article about the research findings written by Mark Howarth and published in the Mail on Sunday, 17 July 2022)

Measuring Wind Farm Noise in Rural Areas

Wind Farm Noise: What is a reasonable distance in rural areas? 

This paper was delivered by Kristy Hansen, Nicholas Henrys, Colin Hansen, Con Doolan and Danielle Moreau from the School of Mechanical Engineering, Adelaide University, Australia at the conference, Acoustics 2012 Fremantle: Acoustics, Development and the Environment. This research is about ten years old, and while it is specific to South Australia, nonetheless it addresses relevant issues for Shetland. It shows the need to be specific in terms of measuring noise in rural areas as official guidelines don't ensure adequate protection of appropriate amenity for rural communities. The inaccuracy of using sound propagation models when topography differs from that used in the manufacturer’s measurements is revealed.  The researchers suggest the influence of the surrounding topography on noise generation of wind turbines is not well documented and further research is necessary. 

Photo: Haroldswick, Unst, Shetland. Credit: Susan Timmins, 2022

Effect of Low Frequency Noise 

Effects of low-frequency noise from wind turbines on heart rate variability in healthy individuals

This report (2021) by Chun-Hsiang Chiu, Shih-Chun Candice Lung, Nathan Chen, Jing-Shiang Hwang and Ming-Chien Mark Tsou is published in Scientific Reports, an open access journal publishing original research from across all areas of the natural sciences, medicine and engineering. Wind turbines generate low frequency noise (LFN, 20–200 Hz), which poses health risks to nearby residents. The study aimed to assess heart rate variability (HRV) responses to low frequency noise exposure and to evaluate the exposure (dB, LAeq) inside households located near wind turbines in Taiwan.  In view of the adverse health impacts of LFN exposure, the researchers conclude that there should be regulations on the requisite distances of wind turbines from residential communities for health protection. Low frequency noise exposure has been found to cause a variety of health conditions. Exposure to low frequency noise from wind turbines results in headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, tinnitus, aural pain sleep disturbances, and annoyance (see references #6 - #19 in the report) Clinically, exposure to low frequency noise from wind turbines may cause increased risk of epilepsy, cardiovascular effects, coronary artery disease; increased blood pressure and ultimately effect the cardiovascular system (see references #20-#26) in the report).  

Ecological Grief

Ecological Grief as a Response to Environmental Change: A Mental Health Risk or Functional Response?  

This study by Hannah Comtesse, Verena Ertl, Sophie M. C. Hengst, Rita Rosner and Geert E. Smid was published in January 2021 in the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health. I'm very interested to learn more about ecological grief in relation to both onshore and offshore wind farms, which to date I've not found. This study is appropriate to the grief which I believe some in Shetland feel.  The researchers suggest that the perception of the impact of climate change on the environment is becoming a lived experience for more and more people. They cite several new terms for climate change-induced distress which describe the long-term emotional consequences of anticipated or actual environmental changes, with ecological grief as a key example."The mourning of the loss of ecosystems, landscapes, species and ways of life is likely to become a more frequent experience around the world. This article introduces the concept of ecological grief and contextualises it within the field of bereavement.

Image: Map of Viking Energy Wind Farm turbine sites, Shetland


Solastalgia: The Distress Caused by Environmental Change

This article was written by Glenn Albrecht and published in February 2007 in the journal Australasian Psychiatry.  He is an environmental philosopher who works in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He has a long-term interest in the environment and

the relationships between humans and the rest of nature. He has been actively involved in conservation projects.  His transdisciplinary research on the impact of open cut mining and other heavy industry on the well-being of people in the Upper Hunter region of NSW is of relevance to the experience we have in Shetland of the Viking Energy Wind Farm construction. He has witnessed hundreds of square kilometres of open cuts in his own backyard. The direct contact with distressed people affected by such enormous environmental change caused distress in his mind and heart. Thus, the concept of solastalgia had its genesis in his own lived experience of distress in land and people. He now seeks to find solastalgia in others and to help defeat it.

Photo is taken from the article: Mt. Arthur mine, covering 40 km2 of the Upper Hunter Valley (photograph: L. Rhiannon).

Solastalgia - A Review of Literature 

Mapping the Solastalgia Literature: A Scoping Review Study

This study, is by Lindsay P. Galway, Thomas Beery, Kelsey Jones-Casey and Kirsti Tasala, researchers based in Canada and Sweden. It was published in 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health.


Solastalgia is a relatively new concept for understanding the links between human and ecosystem health, specifically, the cumulative impacts of climatic and environmental change on mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Given the speed and scale of climate change alongside biodiversity loss, pollution, deforestation, unbridled resource extraction, and other environmental challenges, more and more people will experience solastalgia. This study reviewed 15 years of scholarly literature on solastalgia using a process to look at the literature, which they explain in the article. Their goal was to bring clarity to the understanding of solastalgia, pull together all the literature, and identify priorities for future research.

Table: Number of publications about solastalgia published annually from 2004 - 2018

Pollution caused by erosion of
microplastics from
wind turbines

Rain Erosion Maps for Wind Turbines Based on Geographical Locations: A Case Study in Ireland and Britain

This report by K. Pugh and M. M. Stack was published in January 2021 about research they conducted at Strathclyde University to study erosion rates of wind turbine blades. Erosion rates are not constant and depend on many external factors including meteorological differences relating to global weather patterns. The researchers conducted experiments to determine the impact of rainfall on erosion of turbine blades. In addition to rainfall, they also conducted experiments using salt water. The Shetland climate is among the worst for such erosion. The potential impact of the toxicity from chemicals such as bisphenol leached from micro plastics deposited through erosion of turbine blades on land and marine life, on drinking water, on humans is potentially tremendous. 

Pollution from Wind Turbines - Erosion Calculations in  
Norwegian Study

Pollution from Wind Turbines . . . much more than you think. Calculations for the Norwegian Coast based on research results from University of Strathclyde

This study was carried out by Asbjørn Solberg, Bård-Einar Rimereit and Jan Erik Weinbach and published in April 2021. The Report uses the research findings from the study at Strathclyde University (above) to calculate erosion from the rotor blades along the Norwegian coast. It is written in Norwegian, but the film is in English.  The calculations show emissions 41,000% greater than statistics provided by the Norwegian Wind Energy Association (NORWEA), the voice of the Norwegian wind and ocean energy industry.  Bisphenol, released through rotor blade erosion, is harmful to marine life and to human fertility. You can download an English translation of their Report here.


Electrohypersensitivity as a Newly Identified and Characterized Neurologic Pathological Disorder: How to Diagnose, Treat, and Prevent It

This article, published in 2020 in the Special Issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences  - Environmental Sensitivity Illnesses: Mechanisms and Molecular Signatures. The authors are Dominique Belpomme and Philippe Irigaray, scientists who work in France and Belgium. They state that electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is a neurologic pathological disorder which can be diagnosed, treated, and prevented. They also find associations with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). They ask the World Health Organization (WHO) to include EHS as a neurologic disorder.


Those who live near wind farms may experience this pathological disorder. 

Impact of Wind Turbine Noise on Health and Quality of Life

Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health

This article was published in 2012 in Noise and Health, a bi-monthly interdisciplinary international journal. Authors are Michael A Nissenbaum,  Jeffery J Aramini and Christopher D Hanning, researchers based in Maine, USA; Ontario, Canada and Leicester, England respectively.  They state that industrial wind turbines (IWTs) are a new source of noise in previously quiet rural environments, and that environmental noise is a public health concern, of which sleep disruption is a major factor. Industrial wind turbine noise is a further source of environmental noise, with the potential to harm human health. Current regulations seem to be insufficient to adequately protect the human population living close to IWTs. They compared sleep and  general health outcomes between participants living close to IWTs and those living further away from them, between 3.3 and 6.6 km.  The researchers concluded that the noise emissions of IWTs disturbed sleep and caused daytime sleepiness and impaired mental health in residents living within 1.4 km of the two IWT installations studied. Their research suggests that adverse effects are observed at distances even beyond 1 km. Further research is needed to determine at what distances risks become negligible, as well as to better estimate the portion of the population suffering from adverse effects at a given distance.  There are over 70 homes located within 2 km of the Viking Energy Wind Farm in Shetland, some of which are within 2 km of more than one turbine.

Wind Turbine Noise

Recent Advances in Wind Turbine Noise Research

This article was published in 2020 in Acoustics, by Colin Hansen and Kristy Hansen, researchers based at two universities in Adelaide, Australia - the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide and the College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University. 


The purpose of their paper is to summarise recent and current wind farm noise research work and the research questions that remain to be addressed or are in the process of being addressed. Topics that are the subject of on-going research are discussed briefly and references to recent and current work are included, including impact on human beings and animals. They write that the majority of recent and current research on wind turbine noise generation, propagation and its effects on people and animals is being undertaken by groups in Europe, UK, USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Considerable progress has been made in understanding wind turbine noise generation and propagation as well as the effect of wind farm noise on people, birds and animals. Intensive research on human response to wind farm noise has been on-going for many years, since the 1980s. Although much has been accomplished, there is still controversy and disagreement among researchers as to the extent of the effects. While most agree that wind farm noise can be annoying to a significant number of people, there is disagreement regarding whether wind farm noise can cause

sleep deprivation and adverse health effects. Recent research on this topic is discussed at length in this review. Much remains to be done to answer many of the questions for which answers are still uncertain. In addition to community concerns about the effect of wind farm noise on people and how best to regulate wind farm noise and check installed wind farms for compliance. Click on the image below to enlarge it and see the names of the authors of a short article about noise impact from wind turbines and the link to the web site  which is about advances in engineering.

Impact of Wind Turbine Noise on Health and Quality of Life

Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life

This article was published in 2011 in the international journal, Noise and Health, by authors Daniel Shepherd, David McBride, David  Welch, Kim N.Dirks and Erin M. Hill, all of whom are university researchers based in New Zealand. They state that thorough investigation of wind turbine noise and its effects on health is important given the prevalence of exposed individuals and that policy makers are requiring more information on the possible link between wind turbines and health in order to inform setback distances. Their researching findings suggest that 'utility-scale' wind energy generation is not without adverse health impacts on nearby residents. Thus, countries undertaking large-scale deployment of wind turbines need to consider the impact of noise on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of exposed individuals. They conclude that night-time wind turbine noise limits should be set conservatively to minimise harm, and, on the basis of their data, suggest that setback distances need to be greater than 2 km in hilly terrain, a distance which has not been followed by Viking Energy as there are over 70 homes less than 2 km from at least one wind turbines  and some homes are situated less than 2 km from multiple wind turbines.

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